MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Danario Alexander caught 10 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in his second monster game in as many weeks and Missouri beat Kansas State 38-12 Saturday, putting a big dent in the Wildcats' hopes in the Big 12 North.
In his last two games, Alexander has 414 yards receiving. He hooked up with Blaine Gabbert on scoring plays of 54, 16 and 80 yards.
Gabbert was 20 for 27 for 298 yards and three TDs for the Tigers (6-4, 2-4 Big 12), who had lost four of five and dropped out of contention for their third straight North championship.
Kansas State (6-5, 4-3) started the day with a half-game lead over Nebraska in the North Division. The Huskers will host the Wildcats on Saturday in what could be the division's decisive showdown.
Missouri had not scored a touchdown in the second half of any of its five conference games this year, but Alexander changed that with his 80-yard scoring play in the final seconds of the third quarter. Making the reception near midfield, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior juked one would-be tackler and then with long, powerful strides outran two more into the corner of the end zone.
Alexander had 214 yards receiving the week before in a loss to Baylor. His third TD made it 24-17, and then Missouri wrapped up its fourth straight victory over the Wildcats with touchdown runs in the fourth quarter of 4 and 13 yards by Derrick Washington. Each followed a Kansas State turnover.
The victory made the Tigers bowl-eligible for a school-record fifth straight year and made coach Gary Pinkel 1-5 against Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.
Snyder, who ended a three-year retirement this year, had beaten Missouri 13 in a row.
Josh Cherry kicked four field goals to account for all of the scoring for Kansas State, which failed to score a touchdown for the first time all year. It was also the only home loss for the Wildcats this season.
It's not as though the overmatched Wildcats did not try to defend Alexander. On his first TD, a 54-yard catch, he had defensive back Tysyn Hartman draped all over him as he hauled in the pass. But he shook off Hartman and continued into the end zone.
Cherry's field goals went for 47, 34, 35 and 33 yards. He was 4 for 4.
Missouri's tough run defense held Daniel Thomas, the Big 12's leading rusher, to 79 yards on 23 carries.
Even when the Wildcats hit Alexander so hard they knocked the helmet off his head, they could not get a break. A vicious tackle on a third-down catch in the fourth quarter separated Alexander from both the ball and the helmet, and Kansas State recovered what it thought was a turnover.
But the rule states that as soon as a player's helmet comes off, the play is dead. So the Tigers retained possession and went ahead 31-12 a few minutes later on Washington's 4-yard run.